Greetings, companions of Edain!
If you followed us on our journey, you know that we have declared our undying love for the Lord Of The Rings and Battle for Middle-Earth several times over by this point.
Especially the campaign in the first game was something we all enjoyed: You had the possibility to conquer or defend all of Middle-Earth and play through the entire War Of The Ring.
Later on, whenever fighting a skirmish, we could always remember certain maps: „Ah, that was the one where I defended as Rohan and there were those missions and units at those places.“
But obviously the most memorable maps were the scripted ones – missions like Moria, Caras Galadhon, Amon Hen, Fangorn, Ithilien, Harad, Shelob's Lair or all the fortresses like Minas Tirith. Maps that allowed you to witness parts of the story, not just play a skirmish, always had that special something. I think everyone who played Battle for Middleearth can remember those maps and can see a picture in their mind. xD
We modders are, first and foremost, also just fans. This is why we continue working on Edain after all these years.
This leads to the central topic of the article: The hidden missions existing in Edain. Some of you already know it, but I am sure that a lot of you don't: Edain offers many hidden, but completely playable missions similar to the BfME I campaign, even though you won't see them at first glance.
They were even shown in our teaser for Edain 4.5. I bet only very few of you actually noticed that.:P
How can you play those missions?
As always, we won't give you detailed instructions on how to discover these eastereggs, but there are (as is usual for Edain) some riddles. You can find some of them over at the Edain wiki and as a little feature, we will tell you how to play one of the missions, namely the one shown in the 4.5 trailer. You have to follow these steps:
- Open the skirmish menu in the game
- Select the map Central Ithilien
- Choose the top left spot and select Mordor as your faction
- Deactivate all AIs (computer enemies),you have to play alone
- If you want to play on easy difficulty, disable ring heroes; to play on normal difficulty play with ring heroes enabled (same as with Horde maps)
- Start the map
- Have fun :)
Many other missions can be found... similarly.
What is the idea behind those missions?
The first idea actually came to my mind because of Battle for Middle-Earth I; as written above, we always loved the idea of using normal skirmish maps for a campaign to keep the memory of said campaign alive.
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect (otherwise we modders would have nothing to do). As an example, it was really sad that most maps in the original campaign were monotonous and offered little replay value – you started with your army, ran over everything and at the end killed a camp/castle. This basically was the same as a normal skirmish game, just with a starting army. That's fun for a few rounds, but at some point it gets repetitive and you just do the same thing over and over again, especially as the gameplay itself was also very similar to a normal skirmish.
That's something we want to do differently. We want to give you some variety with the maps and imbue each of them with a different flair. Every map should tell a small story in the bigger conflict.
As an example for Central Ithilien: The basic story in this mission is that there are Harardrim which are pushed back by Rangers. Gothmog was sent with some orcs to help them out before they get overrun and die.
Those mission maps are in a strong contrast to the horde maps; while horde maps are clearly meant to challenge you and give you a hard time and the player should have as much freedom as possible (like defending Minas Tirith with Mordor), the mission maps are more similar to Bfme I mission maps – so everyone should manage them (at least on easy), as the focus is not on the challenge itself, but on the story and gameplay. We want to tell you some small stories from Middle-Earth, without having to wait for a full campaign. With this method we have the chance to tell stories of many brief conflicts, which perhaps would never be possible in a big campaign.
In addition to all the reasons above, there are some more personal reasons: It is an exciting way to rediscover maps. As it is not possible to change terrain, rivers or cliffs on the map without changing it also for the the normal skirmish games, you have very clear restrictions on what is possible.
Those restrictions limit you, but they also can give you ideas. Every map itself can already tell a story, you just have to listen to it long enough.
Creating a map in such a way is a fascinating progress – even if you as players don't notice it, it is really important that we have fun while working on Edain, as this helps us to continue modding. We are sure that there will be more missions in the future.
We wish you a lot of fun and success while searching, finding and playing the missions!
Your Edain Team